Putting some gratitude in your attitude
November 26, 2019
Even though it is the season of giving, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the things we hope to receive. This month, take some time to practice gratitude. People who regularly take time to notice the things they are thankful for often experience more positivity, sleep better and have a stronger immune system.
Here are some key ways to help start practicing and maintaining gratitude.
Notice new things. As you go through the motions of your day, stop and notice the little things. Get specific with the things you’re grateful for, as broad strokes can leave things out and make it harder to come up with things over time. Keep a gratitude journal and try making a game out of finding new things each day.
Practice mental contrasting. When starting a new habit, it can be easy to get caught up in how exciting and wonderful your life will be as a result. However, when you meet an inevitable obstacle, you can lose your momentum and want to give up. To stop that cycle, try mental contrasting: being optimistic about your new habit or goal, but realistic about the struggles it may bring. This way, you can plan for and overcome issues as they come, helping you stay on track with your gratitude practice.
Mix it up. If you feel like your gratitude is getting stale, try out new and creative ways to track moments when you’re feeling especially grateful. For example, anytime you feel grateful, write it on a slip of paper and keep it in a jar. At the end of the day, week, month or even year, empty the jar and take some time to reflect on things that have made you happy and thankful.
Be social. Friends and family are often key factors in our overall happiness, so it makes sense to turn to others as we express our gratitude. By focusing our gratitude on people rather than things or circumstances, it will directly enhance the benefits you experience. Another great way to show your gratitude is by writing a letter or a note or sharing grateful moments around the dinner table.
These are just ideas to get you started on your gratitude journey. Take some time to reflect on the things that you’re thankful for this year, and take the practice into the new year with you.